This is your December 2020 Be Safe brief 

There are two versions of the safety brief – a video version and a text version.

Please watch or read the version that you prefer.

Page contents


Text version

This month's brief includes

  • thank you to Damian Walsh
  • use of mobile phones
  • site footwear

This month’s ‘See it, share it’ is a thank you to Damian Walsh

Damian Walsh - See it, share it winnerCongratulations to this month’s See it, share it winner. The award goes to Damian Walsh, key influencer and site operative at our Euston project for client Siemens. Damian attends the monthly site safety meetings, and has raised some good practice observations regarding manual handling. He complimented his team, and the good site culture, where anyone who doesn’t understand anything is encouraged to ask questions. Thanks, Damian, for playing an active part in site safety and looking out for your colleagues.  

Please share observations and good practice by emailing

Use of mobile phones

VGC has a no phone use rule while you are working on site. 

You may only use a mobile phone at an agreed mobile phone point or welfare area. 

This rule includes plant operators in their plant, unless the project specifically permits this when plant is immobilised and isolated. 

Remember that some clients, including Network Rail, prohibit the use of mobile phones while you are driving, even if the vehicle has a hands-free kit.

The rule is to keep everyone safe. It makes sure someone on the phone is not distracted from what is happening around them. So there is less risk of injury from things like plant movements and trip hazards.

Be Safe rules

The four be safe rules are

  1. Be fit for work
  2. Get a brief before you start
  3. Stop work if anything changes
  4. Report anything unsafe

Our three most significant health and safety risks are 

  • Plant person interface
  • Buried services
  • Competency to undertake a task

By following our four be safe rules, you minimise the risks of an event where someone could get hurt.

Site footwear

S3 site footwearYou must wear safety footwear that meets the S3 standard on site. The S3 standard means your boots have steel toecaps and mid-sole protectors, and ankle support. You must have your boots properly laced up at all times to make sure they protect you from injury.

If a task requires you to wear something different, this will be identified in the risk assessment. 

Your line manager will provide you with the correct footwear as part of your PPE. If you have a problem, speak to them.

Alcohol and drugs

Drug testing kitChristmas and New Year are traditionally a time where people go out and socialise with friends and family. There will be some relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions. Some people will be tempted to drink and possibly take drugs, either because they are socialising, or if they are feeling anxious or depressed.

VGC has zero tolerance of alcohol and drugs. Anyone who reports for duty, having consumed alcohol or under the influence of illegal drugs, will be immediately suspended, and will then face disciplinary action. 

In some safety critical roles, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offence. Anybody sharing or distributing drugs or prescription medication may be committing an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act. 

Where appropriate, VGC will notify the authorities and assist with their enquiries. 

If you are having mental health issues, or you have a problem with drink or drugs, please speak to your line manager or email the HR team on so we can help.

Vehicle checks

Vehicle checksPlease check your vehicle before you drive it.

Highways England and the police recently carried out checks of 173 private cars and project vehicles on two smart motorway projects. 61 vehicles were found to be illegal in some way. 

Four of the drivers were not in compliance with their licence requirements, including one person who did not have a licence. The police issued fines and prohibition notices.

The driver of a vehicle is responsible for its roadworthiness, even if you don’t own the vehicle. That means you will be issued with the penalty.  Please check all vehicles thoroughly before you drive them. 

And finally

If you have questions about any part of this brief, or want to raise any observations of good practice or things that could be improved, please email or fill in the online form at